Behavioural Assessment - TZRD9030

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 7 20 (10) checkmark-circle


The aim of this module is to develop competencies in the assessment of both adaptive and challenging behaviour in the repertoires of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Teaching on assessment starts from an appreciation of the importance of social validity and referral dynamics. Specific assessment strategies relating to challenging behaviour (including structured descriptive assessment and experimental functional analysis) are considered. The application of similar strategies are also considered with respect to adaptive behaviour and associated instructional technologies. Further, the curriculum includes methods of preference assessment to determine appropriate reinforcers. In all topics there is attention both to the development of practical understanding and skill and to the development of a critical appreciation of the underpinning evidence base. Following consideration of these assessment strategies, attention is given to the development of formulations of the behaviour of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities that can inform the development of behaviour support plans, instructional strategies and appropriately prosthetic environmental arrangements.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 45
Private study hours: 155
Total study hours: 200


MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disability)
Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disability)
Post Graduate Certificate in Applied Behaviour Analysis
MSc in Positive Behaviour Support (Intellectual and Developmental Disability) MSc

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Coursework assignment 1 – report (2500 words) - 50%
Coursework assignment 2 – report - (2500 words) - 50%

There are alternative assignments for students taking the practice and research pathways through their programme (see relevant programme specifications). Students taking the practice pathway will be completing assignments with a child or adult with intellectual/developmental disabilities. As such, academic staff supervising the practice pathway have a duty of care to ensure that students' work is professionally appropriate to the needs of the child/adult. Accordingly, tutors will consider when marking coursework assignment 1 if the quality of the assessment work carried out is sufficient to allow them to move onto the second assignment. If thought not to be so, the tutor will support the student to immediately address the concern(s). If these can be addressed adequately and quickly the student will move on to the second assignment. If not the student will be required to either suspend their study or transfer to the research pathway. A similar arrangement applies with respect to assignment 2. This piece of work will directly inform the development of an intervention plan for the child/adult which is submitted and assessed within the revised TZ871 module. The student will only be allowed to continue with the practice pathway in TZ871 with the approval of their tutor. NB These issues are independent of whether work has been passed or failed. If the module is failed then work will need to be resubmitted in the normal way following the next Board of Examiners.

Reassessment methods


Indicative reading

Brown, F., Anderson, J.L. and Dr Pry, R.L. (2015). Individual Positive Behaviour Support: a standards-based guide to use in school and community settings. Baltimore: Brookes.
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E. and Heward, W. L. (2nd Ed.) (2007). Applied Behavior Analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill-Prentice Hall.
Emerson, E., & Einfeld, S. L. (2011). Challenging behaviour (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
O'Neil, R.E., Albin, R.W., Storey, K., Horner, R. and Sprague J.R. (3rd Ed.) (2015). Functional Assessment and Program Development for Problem Behavior: A Practical Handbook. Stamford, CT: Cengage.
Partington, J. W. (2006). ABLLS-R: The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills-Revised. Walnut Creek, CA: Behavior Analysts Inc.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Describe and discuss, at an advanced level, behaviour analytic models of understanding challenging behaviour in people with intellectual
and developmental disabilities and how these relate to efforts to understand the challenging behaviour of specific individuals.
8.2 Describe and discuss, at an advanced level, behaviour analytic models of understanding the development and maintenance of adaptive
behaviour repertoires in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
8.3 Select and use critically a variety of objective and informant based methodologies for collecting data to develop provisional formulations in
regard to both the presentation of challenging behaviour and the development of adaptive repertoires
8.4 Describe and critically use a range of experimental analysis of behaviour methodologies (including experimental functional analysis and
preference assessment) and discuss, at an advanced level, rationales for their use
8.5 Use the information derived from the above methods to formulate both in-depth, multi-factorial understandings of challenging behaviour
and coherent assessments of appropriate goals and methods for repertoire development

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Effectively integrate complex knowledge from different sources, including published work and personal experience.
9.2 Demonstrate the ability to understand, and communicate in writing, complex, abstract concepts.
9.3 Show a capacity to effectively prioritise the demands of work and study.
9.4 Use information technology to a high level (word processing, email, Moodle, e-journals and other online resources).
9.5 Conduct an in-depth assessment of the behaviour of an individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities, requiring the
identification, definition and collaborative solution of difficult problems.
9.6 Conduct in-depth analysis and visual representation of quantitative data.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.